Park City police launch criminal probe after mask dispute at health club
The Park City Police Department on Tuesday said it is conducting a criminal investigation into a dispute between two men at a health club that centered on one of them not wearing a mask.
Phil Kirk, a police captain, said the department received the report at a little after 7 p.m. on June 27 at the Silver Mountain Sports Club & Spa in Prospector. Kirk said a 64-year-old man who lives in Park City contacted the police saying he confronted a man who was working out without a mask.
The man without a mask approached the other person and made threats of “physical force” if he “ever did something like that to him again,” Kirk said. The man without a mask “pushed his way past” the other person, making physical contact as he did so, Kirk said. He said the case was logged as a suspected assault.
The suspect was gone by the time the police arrived. Kirk said investigators are reviewing surveillance footage and interviewing witnesses. He said the dark-haired suspect is described as being physically fit, 5 foot, 10 inches tall and weighing 220 pounds.
Kirk said the Police Department advises someone contact law enforcement or the staff at a business regarding a dispute about a person without a mask instead of directly confronting them.
“There’s frustrations on both ends,” Kirk said about people who decline to wear masks or follow other restrictions and those who are unhappy when they see someone not wearing one or refusing to comply with the other restrictions.
The owner of Silver Mountain Sports Club & Spa, Stanton Jones, said he reviewed the surveillance footage and said the confrontation did not result in a fight. The club requires people wear a mask at all times when they are inside. Jones said it is difficult for some to wear them during a workout due to health reasons, and some pull them off their nose while working out.
Jones said the two people involved in the confrontation exchanged words inside the entryway of the sports club as staffers were preparing to close for the night.
“The person was upset about the interaction. … Upset enough to call the police,” Jones said.
He said the person wearing a mask is a longtime member of the club while the one without a mask is a newer member.
Jones said people using the sports club have generally adhered to social distancing guidelines without issue. The sports club has instituted changes like only making every third treadmill available for use in an effort to promote social distancing. There has been angst among some about wearing masks during a workout, he acknowledged.
The Police Department since the spread of the novel coronavirus has received a series of complaints from people worried about others not practicing social distancing. The police have fielded at least one other complaint about a confrontation, this one verbal, centered on masks. It was reported in May at a Main Street business.
Anybody with information about the confrontation at Silver Mountain Sports Club & Spa may contact the Police Department at 615-5500.
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The Park City Police Department in the middle of October received a report of a confrontation between a moose and a dog in a neighborhood, a rare case inside the city that involved actual contact between wildlife and a pet.